After leaked photos of what appeared to be the heavily refreshed sports sedan made their way onto the web yesterday, Lexus has officially revealed the 2021 IS.
Starting with the exterior, the 2021 IS now has an edgier design. It has bolder LED headlights and a revised spindle grill that features has a three-dimensional design and larger air intakes. The sedan also appears slightly wider thanks to the more muscular fenders and sleeker character lines.
The most noticeable change, however, are the taillights that now span across the entire width of the vehicle – a design cue inspired by newer Lexus models such as the UX and LM. Finally, the IS is now available with 19-inch alloy wheels for the first time – giving the sports sedan a sportier appearance.
Size-wise, the refreshed sports sedan now measures 4710mm long, 1840mm wide, and 1435mm tall. This makes the updated IS longer and wider by 30mm and 5mm taller than before. Wheelbase, on the other hand, remains the same at 2800mm.
While the exterior gets a noticeable redesign, the interior of the IS appears to have only received a subtle makeover. NuLuxe-trimmed seats, power-adjustable front seats (with memory function for the driver), along with dual-zone automatic climate control are available as well.
It now also has an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that now sits closer to the driver and features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. A choice of either a 15-speaker or 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system can be specified for 2021 IS.
Under the hood, the 2021 Lexus IS is available with either a turbocharged four-cylinder or a naturally-aspirated six-cylinder. First up is the IS 300 which gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that produces 241 PS and 350 Nm of torque. The engine benefits from VVTi-W and can switch between Otto and Atkinson cycles to maximize efficiency. Power is then sent to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Next is the IS 350 which still comes with the long-lived 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6. It generates 311 PS along with 380 Nm of torque and is connected to an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission as the turbocharged variant.
There is also an all-wheel-drive version of the sports sedan called the IS 300 AWD and IS 350 AWD. Both are powered by a 3.5-liter V6, with the former detuned to produce 260 PS and 320 Nm of torque. Instead of an eight-speed automatic, the IS 300 AWD is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. The latter, meanwhile, produces 311 PS with 380 Nm and is also connected to an eight-speed automatic.
The chassis remains the same as before, but Lexus did say that they upgraded its suspension. Thanks to lighter coil springs, stabilizer bar, and A-arms, the IS delivers sharper handling. Also helping the IS around windy roads is the Dynamic Handling Package which is standard on the F Sport models. It includes adaptive variable suspension (AVS), and 19-inch forged BBS alloy wheels that are lighter than the standard F Sport wheels. Rear-wheel-drive models come standard with Torsen limited-slip differential.
In terms of safety, the Lexus Safety System (LSS+) has been upgraded to the more advanced LSS+ 2.5. Intelligent safety features like a pre-collision system, frontal collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and bicyclist detection ensure that both the driver and those outside of the vehicle are safe from harm. It also emergency steering assist which helps the driver veer away from potential danger.
Other intelligent safety kits present in LSS+ 2.5 include dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, lane tracing assist, automatic high beams, road sign assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring.
The 2021 Lexus IS is set to hit US dealerships by the end of the year. This means that the Philippine market might get it in the middle of next year.